The deterioration resulting from burial environment on archaeological glass: Comparative study

Document Type : research articles



The aim of this research is to study the deterioration resulting from burial context on archaeological glass. Investigations were performed on a series of Islamic glass fragments coming from different excavation sites (Deir El-Ghannam and Deir El-Banat) in Fayoum which was a major manufacturing place for archaeological glass during Islamic periods. The mineralogical and elemental compositions of glass fragments and soil were determined by Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) methods, while glass fragments’ surfaces were examined by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and USB Digital Microscope. Deterioration aspects resulting from being buried varied among excavations in the Fayoum, according to chemical composition and soil moisture’s proportion which increase in Deir El-Ghannam and decrease in Deir El-Banat. The study shows that different kinds of salts “Chloride and Sulphate”, dirty layers, soil deposits affect the thickness and colour of glass, on top of glass corrosion layers. This study resulted in the conception of a methodology to treat the deterioration aspects.


Main Subjects

  1. Abd-Allah (R) “Chemical characterisation and manufacturing technology of late Roman to early Byzantine glass from Beit Ras/Capitolias, Northern Jordan” Journal of archaeological science 37, (2010), pp1866-1874.
  2. Abd-Allah (R) “Devitrification behavior of corroded: four case studies " Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 7, (2007), pp39-49.
  3. Abd-Allah (R) “Study of the effective factor on deterioration of buried glass objects and its recent techniques of treatment and conservation, Ph.D, conservation department, faculty of archaeology, Cairo university, Egypt, (2002).
  4. Andraos (I) “Coptic History” (1994), p 59.
  5. Bates (J), Abrajano (T), Ebert (W), Mazer (J) “Experimental Hydration Studies of Natural and Synthetic Glasses” Volume 123 (Symposium L – Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology. USA, (1988) PP123-237.
  6. Cronyn (J) “The Elements of Archaeological Conservation”, London. (2004)
  7. Dain-Owens (A), Kibblewhite (M), Hann (M), Godwin (R)”The risk of harm to archaeological artefacts in soil from dynamic subsurface pressures generated by agricultural operations: experimental studies” Archaeometry 55 (6), (2013), pp1175–1186.
  8. Davison (S) “Caring for antiquities (glass and ceramics)” London, (1992).
  9. Dawi (Salwa) “Restoration and conservation of archaeological glass in Egypt” Ph.D, conservation department, faculty of archaeology, Cairo university, Egypt, (1995).
  10. Hamad (Rasha) “Restoration and conservation of a model of archaeological glass objects used for medical purposes. museum of Islamic art in Cairo (Applied Study)” SHEDET (Annual Peer-Reviewed Journal Issued By The Faculty Of Archaeology, Fayoum University), 1 (2014) pp 51-58.
  11. Hamad (Rasha) “Study of factors affecting deterioration of archaeological glass objects used for medical purposes and methods of treatment and conservation (Applied on some selected objects)”, Ph.D, conservation department, faculty of archaeology, Cairo university, Egypt, (2014).
  12. Hamad (Rasha), Nagwa (S), Hamdy (A), Mohamed (M) “Conservation and protection of the Damaged Archaeological Glass by the Explosion “A case studyJournal of the Center for Mediterranean Civilizations Annual Peer-Reviewed Journal Issued By The Faculty Of Art, Sohag University), 2 (2018) pp 28-39.
  13. HASAN (Dalia), DAWI (Salwa), Rifai (M) “An experimental study for the evaluation of materials and methods used in the treatment of tin amalgam mirrors” SHEDET(Annual Peer-Reviewed Journal Issued By The Faculty Of Archaeology, Fayoum university), 2 (2015) pp 40-53
  14. Huisman (D), Pols (S), Joosten (I), van (O), Smit (A),”Degradation processes in colorless Roman glass: cases from the Bocholtz burial” Journal of Archaeological Science 35 (2), (2008), pp398–411
  15. Jackson (C) “Making colourless glass in the roman period” Archaeomerty 47 (4), (2005), pp.763-780.
  16. Jackson (C), Greenfield (D), Howie (L)”An assessment of compositional and morphological changes in model archaeological glasses in an acid burial matrix. Archaeometry 54 (3), (2012), pp489–507.
  17. Ling (D) “Conservation of Hellenistic vessel glass at the british museum”, London, (2001)
  18. Mark (k), Gergely (T), Tamas (H) “Predicting the preservation of culturalartefacts and buried materials in soil” Science of The Total Environment, Vol 529, (2015),PP249-263
  19. Melcher (M), Wiesinger (R), Schreiner (M) “Degradation of glass artifacts: application of modern surface analytical techniques”. Accounts Chemistry Research 43 (6), (2010), pp916–926.
  20. Plenderlieth (H), Warner (A) “The conservation of antiques and works of art” Oxford University press, London, (1971).
  21. Pollard (A), Heron (C) “Archaeological chemistry, Research Science Society, Cambridge, U.K., (1996).
  22. Roemich (H), Gerlach (S), Mottner (P), Mees (F), Jacobs (P), Van (D), Doménech (C) “Results from burial experiments with simulated medieval glasses” Material Research Society Symposium757, (2003) pp97-108
  23. Roemich (H), Bellendorf (P), Gerlach (S), Mottner (P), lópez (E), wittstadt (k) “Archaeological Glass: The Surface and Beyond” Interim Meeting of the ICOM-CC Working Group October 3–6, Corning, New York, U.S.A. (2010) pp 137-149
  24. Ryan, (J), McPhail (D), Rogers (P), Oakley (V) “Glass Deterioration in the Museum Environment: A Study of the Mechanisms of Decay Using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry” ICOM Committee for Conservation, 11th Triennial Meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland Preprints, London, (1996), pp839-844
  25. Seas (C) “A conservation manual for the field archaeologist” Vol.4, USA, (1994).
  26. Shelby (J) “Introduction to glass science and technology” Research Science Society, Cambridge, U.K,, (1997)
  27. Silvestri (A), Molin (G) “The colourless glass of Julia Felix” Journal of Archaeological Science 35, (2008), pp331-341.
  28. Tite (M), Shortland (A), Maniatis (Y), Kavoussanaki (D) Harris (S) “ The composition of the sod-rich and mixed alkali plant ashes used in the production of glass” Journal of Archaeological Science 33, (2006), pp1284-1292.
  29.      Van (G), “Weathered Archaeological Glass,” Corning Museum of Glass,, last accessed 15 April 2018.
  30. Degryse (P), Schneider (J), Poblome (J), Waelkens (M), Haack (U), Muchez (P) “A geochemical study of Roman to early Byzantine Glass from Sagalassos, South-west Turkey” Journal of ArchaeologicalScience, 23,( 2005) pp287-299